About nine thousand years ago there was a kingdom called Kosala on the banks of the river Sarayu to the north of the Ganga. Ayodhya was the capital city of this kingdom. King Dasharatha ruled over Ayodhya. The city of Ayodhya was built by Manu, a descendant of Soorya, the Sun god and an ancestor of Dasharatha. Maharshi Vashistha and Vamadeva were the royal priests.
King Dasharatha had three queens – Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. In spite of all his wealth and luxuries the king led a lonely life. He was old and he had no child of his own. The king spent many sleepless nights worrying about what would happen to his dynasty and who would be heir to the throne of Ayodhya.
On the advice of the priests and the ministers, the king performed a “Yagya’ and four sons were born to his queens – Rama, Laxman, Bharat and Shatrughana. Rama was born as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu Himself. Maharshi Vasishtha educated and trained the four princes in all the branches of knowledge.
Once sage Vishwamitra came to kind Dasaratha and requested him to send Rama with him to kill the demons disturbing his ‘Yagya’. From there he took Rama to Mithila where king Janaka’s daughter Sita was going to face her ‘swayamvar’. There Rama broke the ‘Shivadhanush’ and married Sita.
King Dasaratha decided to make Rama the king. Queen Kaikeyi got jealous. So she took a promise from the king that Rama would go to the forest for fourteen years and her son Bharat would become the king.
Rama kept the words of his father and went to the forest with Sita and Laxman. On the way they killed many demons and saved the earth. In Mithila, king Dasaratha died due to pain for his sons and Sita. Bharat kept the sandals of his brother Rama on the thorne and ruled over Mithila.
Ravana was a cruel, notorious demon king of Lanka. He came in the disguise of a sage and kidnapped Sita. Rama made alliance with Sugriva, the monkey king and prepared a bridge to Lanka with the help of his soldiers. Hanuman was a great devotee of Lord Rama and Sita took the message of Rama to Sita and burnt Lanka. Rama and Laxman killed many demons like Kumbhakarna, Indrajeet. Ultimately Rama killed Ravana.
Sita was rescued. She was united with Lord Rama after walking through fire to prove her purity. Rama, Laxman and Sita returnd to Ayodhya happly. Rama was coronated and ruled with peace and prosperity. ‘Ramarajya’ is regarded as a model for the best and ideal administration.
The story of Ramayana inspires all of us to this day. The character of Sri Ram is that of Maryada Purushottam and he symbolizes the ideal man. Every other character whether it is dutiful Sita, the loyal Laxman, the faithful Hanuman, the committed Bharat or the wise Vibhishan is truly inspiring. Even Ravana in spite of his evil traits teaches us that the best of knowledge goes waste if a man is arrogant.
Thus Ramayana is a true teacher for all of us and one of the greatest books of all time.
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